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The Louis XIV style is a term often applied to furniture and decorative arts of 17th Century France. The style takes its name from Louis XIV, who was the king of France between 1643 and 1715.
Known as the Sun King, Louis XIV's name is synonymous with the splendour of the impressive Palace of Versailles. The furnishings and décor of the palace are designed to reflect the power and wealth of the French monarchy, and are stunning for their ornate detailing and precious materials. The best example of the Louis XIV style is the work of his cabinetmaker, André-Charles Boulle (Paris, 1642-1732), who specialised in tortoiseshell and brass marquetry. The decorative motifs of Louis XIV style pieces are usually mythological, including foliated scrolls, dolphins, garlands and cherubs. Many of the pieces from this period can also be described as Baroque, due to their exuberant and heavy decoration, although Classicism in both shape and structure remained prevalent in 16th and 17th Century French antiques.